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Badass Princess Names

photo copyright Lissy Elle

A cartoon in a recent New Yorker features a little girl and her mother surveying Halloween costumes in a shop window. “I want to be whichever Disney princess is the most badass,” the girl says.

Badass princess is an image that not only appeals to contemporary little girls but to their parents when choosing a name.

Like the hipster cowboy names we wrote about recently, badass princess names are appealing not so much because of their sound or their style but because of the complicated image they convey. These are girl names that are both decidedly feminine and rooted in tradition, but are not at all conventional or conservative.  They’re creative and edgy, but not invented or unorthodox like Blue or Bellamy.

Rather, these are names that could be – that in many case are – used for royalty, yet they’re a lot, well, badder than names like Elizabeth and Victoria.

The badass princess names are  classy and sassy, cosmopolitan yet earthy, chic but never trying too hard.  It’s an image that many an urbane parent can embrace for her daughter, and that a little girl can have fun living up to, in Halloween costume and beyond.

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Princess Names: Fictional Picks

"BRAVE"

Nameberry intern Hannah Tenison, a University of Michigan senior planning on a law career, picks twelve of the most charming fictional princess names, from fairy tales to video games.

Fiery and feisty princess Merida has come bounding into the spotlight with the release of the newest animated Pixar film, “Brave,” and with her, a whole slew of marketing fixated on the newest animated princess. With all the recent focus on royal ladies, it seems only fitting to take a look at all the other fictional princesses and the world of princess names.  These fictional princess names range from strong, to elegant, to frilly—just right for a modern day little girl. Here are some of the best, from Arwen to Zelda, Aurora to Rosalina

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Princess names are a subject of fascination for us, one we last covered by detailing all the names of the next generation of little princesses, from Aiko to Eleonore.

Now, in honor of the newest princess by marriage, Catherine of Wales, we look at the names of women who, like fairy tale Cinderellas, became princesses when they married princes. Most of those listed here are contemporary princess in Europe and Japan, though there are historical examples too.

The most common princess names are the classics: Mary, Louise, Victoria, Charlotte, Alexandra, Elizabeth, Caroline, Sophia and Sophie. But there are some more adventurous examples that might inspire: Augusta, Letizia, Tatiana.

And what of Princess Kate? Princess Catherine? For her moment in the spotlight, we declare hers the loveliest princess name of all.

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Princess Names

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One of my embarrassing little obsessions is princess names.  The whole idea of royalty, in these modern times, is kind of embarrassing.  And then there’s the issue of encouraging your daughter to aspire to be a princess rather than, say, a doctor or an astronaut.  For more on this, check out Peggy Orenstein’s great piece from the New York Times, “What’s Wrong With Cinderella?” and her bestselling book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter.

The fact, in our experience, is that most little girls go through a phase of wanting to be princesses whether you encourage them to or not.  And there’s a lot of great name inspiration to be found in the world of royalty.

The most obvious place to start is with names that mean princess — for the most part limited to Sarah and her variations.  Sara, Sera, Sarai, Sadie, Soraya, and Zadie are all possibilities.  A British “glamour model” named her daughter Princess, though we don’t recommend this.

Another source for princess names is fictional: fairy tales, legends, and the art of Walt Disney.  Some ideas:

Ariel — The Little Mermaid, princess of an undersea world, has already inspired many namesakes.

Aurora — One of the “real” names of Sleeping Beauty.

Fiona — The princess from Shrek, a great role model though a little girl might feel ambivalent about carrying her name.

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